A Gravy Fountain Would Make Your Life So Much Better
This holiday season, Food & Wine is going over the top with our series "Give Thanks, But Make It Extra"—a celebration of all things opulent, glittering, rich, delicious, and joyful.
I don't mean to tell you how to live your life, but you need a gravy fountain. Scratch that—you deserve a gravy fountain. I'm not saying it needs to be flowing 24/7, but then again, who am I to dictate how you live your gravy life? We've been living in an era of scarcity and uncertainty for what feels like a century now, and I can think of no better affirmation of OK-ness, no better rejection of the soul-eroding malaise of the eternal Blursdays, than to be able to hold forth your drumstick, biscuit, mashed potato mound or housecat to be warmly enrobed in an endless font of savory gravy.
But what's a gravy fountain? My bad! I should have explained that it's a fountain that you fill up with gravy. Not, like, a yard fountain—though you should absolutely live that truth if you have the means to do so—but rather one of those electric tabletop fountains that you may have encountered at weddings, parties, and Golden Corral. Customarily, they're filled with punch, chocolate, or (if you're especially fortunate) queso, but there are not to my knowledge any fountain police currently employed at the city, state, or federal level. Even if there were, we live in seemingly lawless times, and it is within your power to manifest your dreams. Fill that sucker up with your favorite gravy—with a few caveats.
If your gravy recipe contains herbs, mushrooms, or other delicious chunkage, like our Mushroom-and-Herb Gravy with Apple Brandy, the solids will need to be strained out so as to not gum up the works. Same goes for sawmill or sausage gravy and sure, that's a heartbreaker, but you could always reserve those tasty nuggs to add back into the dish. Or employ them as as a garnish, like porky little ice cream sprinkles! Recipe developer John Somerall created a glorious gravy recipe that is specifically adapted for a gravy fountain, so start there.
Should your gravy preference tend toward the thick end of the spectrum, this may not be the ideal method of dispersal for you, though it physically pains me to say that. But if you're willing to give it a go, you can thin out your gravy with additional liquid. Not plain old water—heavens no! This is a chance to add some bodyodyodyody to the flavor. Heat up some stock, milk, wine, potlikker, or whatever is flavor-appropriate to your recipe, and slowly whisk that into the warmed gravy until it drips easily from a spoon. You'll know when it's right. You'll know it in your bones. (Also, strain out any bones.)
Gravy never wants to hurt you, but as Somerall notes, "While it's perfectly safe to run the gravy fountain for a few hours, the gravy temperature does hover around 105-110°F; a little cooler than is what is considered to be food-safety temperature, so keep it flowing for under two hours."
Surely the mere presence of your personal gravy Versaille is cause for wonder and awe, but you'll wanna have the cattle to go with that hat. Test it out before the blessed reveal with a pre-holiday gravy batch in order to work out any kinks (or lumps). What's the worst that can happen? You eat gravy twice in a month? Think of it as training for the gravy-centric life you will soon be leading.
But from whence might this magical gravy font spring? Yeah, you can rent one, but such a device will likely be a hardcore pro model, and honestly, this doesn't require that much horsepower. For less than the price of a rental, you can obtain an effective and thoroughly mesmerizing home chocolate fountain to deploy whenever the mood strikes. I want this life for you.
Oh and! You may and should find yourself in a gravy stupor by the end of the evening, but do not leave the task of cleaning the fountain until the morning. Even if you have to scrawl it on yourself in cranberry sauce Memento-style, and let the other dishes fester, remember to thoroughly flush out the fountain and make sure all residue is wiped away so you're properly prepped for the next time. And knowing there will be a next time? That's the gravy on top.